How to properly care for your vinyl records

Vinyl has seen a resurgence in popularity in recent years, and for good reason. The warm, rich sound of analog recordings is unmatched by digital formats. However, to truly appreciate the sound quality of your vinyl collection, it’s essential to properly care for and maintain your records. Not to mention the fact that vinyls are now fetching very high prices, so you’ll want to be looking after your precious investments as best as you can!

In this article, we’ll take a look at the steps you can take to keep your vinyl records in top condition.

Playing a vinyl record


The first step in caring for your records is proper storage. Vinyl records should be stored vertically, with the side label facing outwards. This will prevent warping, which can occur if records are stored horizontally or at an angle, stacked against each other. It’s also important to keep your records in a cool, dry place, away from direct sunlight and heat sources such as convector heaters, fan heaters or radiators. High temperatures and humidity can cause records to warp, and exposure to sunlight can cause the color of the cover to fade.


When handling your records, it’s important to use clean, dry hands. Sweat, oil, and dirt can all damage your records and should be avoided. Handle the disc itself only on the edges, being careful not to touch the face at all. You could accidentally put dirt or grease into the grooves which might not only damage your vinyl record, but could also damage the needle of your record player.


When it comes to cleaning your records, there are a few different methods you can use.

For ‘wet’ cleaning, a simple cleaning solution of distilled water and a few drops of mild detergent can be used to gently wipe down the surface of your records. This is cheap and easy to do but don’t get carried away. Only do this if your records are actually dirty! If you are wet cleaning, then ideally you’ll want to use a specialist cleaning product like this Audio-Technica one (available on Amazon).

In addition to wet cleaning, a carbon fiber brush can be used (dry) to remove any dust and mild debris. Personally I like the Boundless brush (get it on Amazon here).

Definitely, 100% avoid using abrasive cleaning solutions or brushes, as they WILL damage the surface of your records.

If regular cleaning doesn’t work and your records need deep cleaning you could consider a high-quality record cleaning machine. These machines use a combination of cleaning solutions and vacuums to remove dirt and grime from the record’s surface. They are very expensive though and are only required to refurbish extremely dirty records. HumminGuru make one such machine (you can find it on Amazon).


When playing your records, it’s important to use a high-quality stylus and make sure that your turntable is properly calibrated. A worn or damaged stylus can cause scratches and damage to the record’s surface, while an improperly calibrated turntable can result in poor sound quality and wear on the record. In fact, these two things are the major cause of wear and degradation of vinyl records.

Finally, it’s important to avoid overplaying your records. This is always a tough one, because of course – they are there to be played and enjoyed. However, each time a record is played, it causes a certain amount of wear and tear. This wear is cumulative and can eventually lead to audio degradation.

Summing Up

Proper care and maintenance of your vinyl records is essential for achieving the best possible sound quality and preserving your collection for years to come. Proper storage, careful handling, regular cleaning, and precise turntable setup are all important factors in keeping your records in top condition. By following these guidelines, you can enjoy the rich, warm sound of your vinyl collection for many, many years to come.